Critics of Myanmar’s military coup gathered on Wednesday in a major show of opposition to the army’s assertion of public support for overthrowing elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
News reports said security forces were surrounding the demonstrators.
Protesters are deeply sceptical of the military government’s assurances that there will be a fair election sometime in the future and it would hand over power, even as police filed an additional charge against overthrown government leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Nobel Peace laureate, detained since the February 1 coup, now faces a charge of violating a natural disaster management law, as well as charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios.
“What they said was totally untrue. I don’t acknowledge them at all,” a protester who gave her name as Khin said of the military’s news conference when it again defended the coup saying a November 8 election, swept by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, was fraudulent.
“They said there was vote fraud but look at the people here now,” said Khin who was among thousands gathering at the Sule Pagoda, a central protest site in the main city of Yangon.
UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said he feared that there was a possibility of violence against the protesters and made an urgent call on any country with influence over the generals, and businesses, to press them to avoid it.
In Yangon and elsewhere, motorists responded to a “broken-down car campaign” spreading on social media, stopping their supposedly stalled cars, with bonnets raised, on streets and bridges to block them to police and military trucks.
“We want the truth,” said Ko Ye, 26, whose taxi was part of the break-down protest at the Sule Pagoda.
“The truth is democracy and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.”